I woke up this morning thinking about work, not the kind I did for 30 years in the corporate world, but the kind of work I do now. In those days it was almost impossible to find time to think during the work day, which pushed such activity primarily to the night in off-work hours. During the day there were incessant phone calls and a steady parade of people dropping by, some just to jaw, most for substantive reasons. Now I work both day and night in almost complete solitude and this is so much more conducive to thought and a life in the mind than the former. The corporate world might find itself far more productive if It went to four-day work-weeks, not for production or for sales folks, but for the various thought-disciplines that propel the ship’s perennial money-hunt.
Lonnie skipped down to her Mother’s place overnight, leaving Shaksper and me to our own devices, and we managed quite well. The dog slept on his bed, near mine, and didn’t disturb me until after 6, even though he knows I’m usually up between 4-5. He took his bolus with pills without incident this morning and is now stretched out in the morning air, sucking in the cool, and hoping (do dogs pray?) a rabbit makes the mistake of crossing his ground. It’s good for a border collie to have a job.
My last reading for the first quarter is A Writer’s Diary by Virginia Woolf.
To be frank, I’ve never read any Virginia Woolf and only know her because of Edward Albee’s 1962 play, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Which, of course, has, near as I can tell, nothing (if anything) to do with the author. So it is with great pleasure that I have discovered her diary, which she kept sporadically and which deals with her inner writing life and various social events, giving a nice window on England and herself from the second decade of the Twentieth Century into 1941. What impresses me is her simple, descriptive vocabulary mixed with a sort of introspective creative peek at the things around her and the currents of thought charging through her brain, wonderful phrases like, “taking a delicious draught of silence.” Or, “he had blue eyes like hard marbles. Or, “He mumbles and mutters like an old man sucking pebbles.”
I’m certain now that after we move the caravan up to our Summer digs I’ll find some Woolf novels and see if her fiction matches the writing and thinking in her diaries. I expect to not be disappointed.
Thus, here we are, Shaksper and me, watching the light grow over the garden. It is April Fools Day, which in France is called Poisson d’Avril (April Fish) and it Italy, where I once lived for some years, Pesce d’Aprile, (ditto April Fish or something close.) Why fish? Who knows, but the prank of the day is to tape pictures of fish on the back of unsuspecting classmates and wait for them to find it and act appropriately put out. If one were to affix a paper trout to my back, I’d serious consider leaving it there in perpetuity. Think of all the trees this might save for future April Fish days. The last Saturday in April. That’s how we in Michigan describe the trout opener, which has been this way for as long as I can remember. We are now sliding out the backside of April and the opener begins to loom. We will be in the UP by then, most streams unwadable until June and the weather no doubt will be awful for the opener, which is almost always is, with few exceptions, global clotting or not.
Yesterday I spent most of the afternoon fussing with a letter for our trust, one telling the kids that I want to be cremated ASAP and my ashes dumped at a favorite spot in a particular river. Lonnie and I would like eventually for there to be a merger of ashes at that spot, hers, mine, Shanny’s, Shaksper’s and any other dogs we have in our lives before diving into our dirt-naps for eternity. I must confess that I found it rather disturbing to refer to myself in the past tense (dead tense), but this sort of planning is the kind of the decent and thoughtful thing one can do for survivors and loved ones prior to our flight out to wherever (those last words would make a find title for a story).
Most of my friends are now retired. This coming summer will mark the 39th consecutive meeting of the Little L Lake, Baldwin Bullshido Club. This year it appears that we’ll get another shot at salmon. Last time this happened, Reg Bernard and I managed a couple of fish while the rest of the lads gave up and repaired to camp for toddies. The truth is that catching king salmon on the spawn is no great trick, and perhaps it’s not so grand to give them some aerobic exercise so close to their demise, but I have neither the frame of mind, nor the mood for philosophizing such trivial matters this morning. Back to work. Over.